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Funky new propagator

So.... I've just invested in 1 of these... What's the best veg / flowers to start in these to get a jump on the new season? I'm thinking tomatoes & cucumbers?

http://stewart-garden.co.uk/products/black/38cm/electric-propagator-thermostatic-control/
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  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,083
    Congratulations!
    An important point when growing in a propagator is having enough space.
    Once the seeds have germinated you need to transplant them and then pot them on. Bearing in mind that you'll need to keep them all frost free until late spring when you can harden them off and plant them out so make sure you have space for them in the propagator.
    I sow toms, cucumber, peppers and chili in mine the between late Feb and 1st week in March so by the time they've germinated the sun is strong enough to stop them getting leggy.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • rlewrlew Posts: 25
    For some reason, and yes it is switched on, I put a thermometer in the propagator and it says 28 degrees... I put my hand on the black plastic base and it barely feels warm, there's no thermostat either anywhere that I can see.....  :/
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,083
    edited December 2021
    If your thermometer says 28c then it's likely to be around 28c.
    If the thermometer is in your lounge, does it seem about right?
    Looking at the link you gave, it does say it is thermostatically controlled, but there is no adjustment as far as I can see, so I'd guess the thermostat is fixed and built-in to the base.
    They have a contact phone number on the Contact page - why not call and ask?

    I put a layer of sand (1"-2") in the base of my propagators - it acts as a storage heater and helps keep the temperature even.

    PS - looking at the product on the Amazon page-
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stewart-Thermostatic-Control-Electric-Propagator/dp/B0055QZI6K/ref=pd_lpo_2?pd_rd_i=B0055QZI6K&psc=1
    It has an 8w heater which is very low powered, but should be enough to help with temperatures a bit.
    It also confirms that the thermostat is not adjustable

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • I have a couple of these Stewart propagators and while they are thermostatically controlled the thermostat is fixed to around 20 deg C, I also have one which isn't thermostatically controlled and that can get up to around 30 deg C. I use a green base wick (can't remember what they are called my brains turned to mush) under the pots and keep it moist/wet which keeps the air in the propagator humid and the compost moist, when the seedings emerge you can open the vents to cut down on humidity levels. The water level in the propagator without the thermostat is also used to control the temperature. If you start the seeds off too early you will struggle to provide enough light for the and they will turn leggy best to wait until February for tomatoes and the like.
  • rlewrlew Posts: 25
    I have a couple of these Stewart propagators and while they are thermostatically controlled the thermostat is fixed to around 20 deg C, I also have one which isn't thermostatically controlled and that can get up to around 30 deg C. I use a green base wick (can't remember what they are called my brains turned to mush) under the pots and keep it moist/wet which keeps the air in the propagator humid and the compost moist, when the seedings emerge you can open the vents to cut down on humidity levels. The water level in the propagator without the thermostat is also used to control the temperature. If you start the seeds off too early you will struggle to provide enough light for the and they will turn leggy best to wait until February for tomatoes and the like.
    A green base wick? Can you elaborate please? 
  • HeliosHelios Posts: 191
    I think perhaps @barry island meant capillary matting? I use my heated propagator without anything in the base but once I’ve transferred the seedlings out of the propagator, then I use capillary matting to stand them on. 
  • Thank you Helios I just couldn't think of the word Doh! Yes capillary matting it really is needed in a propagator to prevent the seedlings from cooking I.E warm damp soil is better than warm dry soil.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,083
    That's another reason I use sand.
    It stays damp and holds the heat well.
    The extra moisture increases the humidity, so I always keep a vent or two open to help prevent damping off disease
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • HeliosHelios Posts: 191
    @roylewis010979 I wouldn’t be too concerned if the base of your propagator barely feels warm. Go by the thermometer. Mine doesn’t feel especially warm to the touch but it holds the temperature according to the thermometer I also use to check. 

    I think I’ll try using capillary matting😉 @barry island or else sand, @Pete.8 this year and see if it makes a difference. Even without I rarely have to water, maybe because I tend to sow in very small pots rather than trays.
  • I couldn't imagine not having a wet layer either matting or sand although I would imagine sand could be messy and heavy whereas capillary matting is clean and light weight, the heat of the propagator can easily dry the compost out and cook the roots.
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